Q&A with Fidji Simo: The Power of News Feed for Brands

Q&A with Fidji Simo: The Power of News Feed for Brands

We sat down with Fidji Simo, Facebook Product Marketing Manager, to learn what brands need to know about the Facebook news feed.

You recently worked on opening up the ability for marketers to advertise in news feed. Can you tell us more?

News feed is truly the center of the Facebook experience. People are spending about 40% of their time on Facebook in the news feed1 and that’s across the more than 950 million people who actively use Facebook every month, 58% of which return daily.2 This is an incredible amount of time but it makes sense: News feed is where people go to share the most important parts of their lives and to receive updates on the things they care most about – whether friends, family, or brands.

On mobile, the news feed is literally the core of the Facebook experience given that it takes up the entire mobile screen. And, the mobile news feed is only further heightened by the growth we’re seeing in mobile – 67% mobile user growth since last year.3

Opening up the ability for marketers to distribute their content in news feed, both on desktop and mobile, is a great opportunity for businesses to seamlessly get in front of their audience in the most engaging way possible.

So how do brands fit in specifically?

The news feed is where people expect to go for up-to-date information from the people, brands, and businesses they care about. We often talk about news feed being like a dynamic newspaper that is personalized just for you. Marketers care about reaching and engaging the right people, so the amount of time spent in news feed directly impacts businesses’ ability to reach and engage their customers. In fact, people are 40-150x more likely to consume branded content via news feed than on a brand Page.4 But time spent is only part of the answer. By appearing in news feed, brands are seamlessly integrated into the stream of highly engaging content that people care most about. This makes brand stories even more noticeable, impactful and personal.

What should brands do to engage people most effectively in news feed?

We think of the brand Page as mission control for a brand on Facebook. Now it’s time to link that with the news feed as the ultimate distribution and engagement vehicle for a brand. A portion of Page posts will show up organically in fans’ news feeds (~16% of fans can be reached by a brand that posts 5 out of 7 days)5 based on the relevance of the post relative to the other stories that could be shown to each fan and the recency of the post. Given how engaged people are in the news feed, relying on organic reach leaves a significant opportunity on the table. With Page post ads, businesses can make sure that their posts get distributed to a much larger audience in news feed. Since people are more likely to be influenced by their friends, marketers can also use Sponsored Stories to make sure people see when their friends engage with a business. For example, stories about people liking a Page post, claiming an Offer, or liking a Page can be shown to more people in news feed.

The best way to generate more engagement in news feed, which will in turn lead to more distribution of a post and more stories about people engaging with a post, is to post quality content. The more engaging a story is, the more distribution in news feed brands can expect to receive for their budget. You’ll notice that the most successful brands post content that is memorable, succinct, and aligned with their brand purpose, encouraging a two-way conversation with the audience, and uses well-produced video or eye-catching photo content.

How can a business get access to news feed and to mobile?

A business has to promote a post or create a sponsored story to get distribution in news feed. Any Page post ad or sponsored story can appear in news feed, both on desktop and mobile, regardless of whether it has been created through any of our self-serve interfaces or via an insertion order. For businesses that want their ads and sponsored stories to appear only in news feed or only on mobile, they can specify this placement in Power Editor, or via our API and Preferred Marketing Developers. For all Pages with more than 400 fans, choosing to “Promote” a post directly from the Page composer or the post itself on the Page will also guarantee that the post is only distributed in news feed.

Any parting thoughts?

I think the news feed makes advertising on Facebook very simple. If brands want to reach people where they are the most engaged, both on desktop and mobile, the news feed is the place to do it. 

For more stats on the power of Facebook for brands, check out this downloadable infographicHave ideas about posts you’d like to see on the Facebook Studio blog? Let us know in the comments, or you can contact us here.

1 comScore Power of Like 2: How Social Marketing Works,  June 2012. 2 Facebook 10Q, June 2012. 3 Ibid. 4 comScore Power of Like 1: How Brands Reach and Influence Fans Through Social Media Marketing, July 2011. Ibid.


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